Osteoarthritis and Acupuncture

Osteoarthritis is, as anyone who has this condition, will know, extremely painful, and debilitating. From a biomedical standpoint it affects the cartilage and other parts of the body’s joints; mainly the knee and hip. The condition is characterised by short or extended episodes of significant pain and loss of function, that is often accompanied by inflammation. The treatments which western medicine have developed to treat osteoarthritis range from various pain relief and steroid preparations to joint replacement.

Acupuncture, on the other hand, is based on the principles underlying traditional Chinese medicine theory. It may, as a stand alone treatment or in combination with western medical treatment, help relieve pain and improve movement for patients suffering from osteoarthritis. The purpose of this piece is to give a short introduction to how acupuncture treatment may achieve this.

Acupuncture has, as an underlying principle a holistic approach to health, and it recognises that we are all closely connected with nature and the earth. From a scientific point of view we are composed of the same fundamental constituents that are found in all life, and the earth; and we are also subject to the same cycles that exist in nature. Another important concept underpinning acupuncture and Chinese medicine is that of qi or vital energy. Symptoms or conditions such as osteoarthritis are thought, from the standpoint of Chinese medicine to arise from imbalances in the body’s qi.

Acupuncture seeks to treat the person as a whole rather than the specific symptom in isolation. This is achieved by correcting the imbalances in the flow of qi, which are diagnosed through taking a detailed medical history, examination of the tongue coating and reading the pulses at the wrist. The treatment is carried out by the insertion of very fine needles into specific points, mainly on the arms and legs. An important aim of treatment is also to improve the harmony of the body’s natural cycles so that they are more synchronised with the cycles occurring in nature; and in this way help maintain health.

If you would like more information about acupuncture in the Costa del Sol area please visit 5element-acupuncture.com or by email at info@5element-acupuncture.com.

In addition, there is interesting information on the British Acupuncture Council website 

and Arthritis research UK also has lots of helpful information http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/support-us/get-involved/national-arthritis-week.aspx